Partially Parted: 1985 Ford Mustang SVO

How do you approach buying a car that the seller thought was best used as a parts rig? It’s an interesting conundrum, as plenty of us have bought spare cars to keep another one on the road when values were moderate, but as certain vehicles have increased in value, suddenly parts cars have become potential projects worth building. This 1985 Ford Mustang SVO was previously used to keep another turbo Ford running, but the seller has now decided to sell it as-is with some components missing while acknowledging he could keep it and turn it into a driver with a higher asking price. Regardless, it is a rust-free SVO that is certainly worth saving at this point. Find it here on craigslist for $4,500 in Puyallup, Washington.

The turbocharged SVO may have indeed been a throwaway car at one point in time, as they spent years living in the shadow of the V8-powered Fox body. There wasn’t necessarily any disdain for the SVO; it was simply seen as less desirable. If you happened to get hooked on turbo Fords years prior, you found a rich landscape of project and parts cars that didn’t carry high price tags. The Merkur XR4Ti is another great example of a car that quickly became throwaway when it didn’t become an instant collector’s item, and those cars are also beginning to rise in value for the very best examples. The seller doesn’t detail what parts he’s removed; do you see anything missing?

The crazy thing is that here in the Northeast, rusty SVOs turn up on occasion with the same asking price as the seller’s car. Heck, I know one guy who won’t even entertain offers on his despite every panel being chewed up by rust. In addition to not being overly concerned with parting out a collector car, the seller also doesn’t seem to realize how lucky he is to have a rust-free SVO on his hands; then again, most folks in the Pacific Northwest don’t seem to realize how good they have it in terms of rust-free collector cars that are still used as daily drivers. The SVO’s bodywork looks sound, and fortunately, no one has pillaged the rear wing.

When you look at the photos, it really is jarring to think the seller thought this SVO was only good as a parts car. Even if you’re spoiled by rust-free cars and trucks, it’s pretty clear to me that an SVO in this sort of condition will bring good money all day long. The seller has curiously still thrown a lot of new parts at it, but it still doesn’t run; I’m curious what parts were removed to potentially cause it to be DOA. The new parts list includes a new thermostat, hoses, shocks, springs, battery, spark plug wires, and more, so it’s pretty clear there were plans to do something more than just strip this SVO at some point in the past. It comes with a clean title and two extra motors. Would you have even considered parting out a car this clean?


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  1. Terrry

    Cars actually last awhile here in the PNW simply because we don’t use a lot of salt on the roads. It rarely snows west of the Cascades. In spite of the rain, you can find relatively rust-free cars here.

    Like 1

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